Two of the more interesting characters in The Boxtrolls are Mr. Trout (Nick Frost) and Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade). They are evil henchmen.
The fact that they don’t know they are evil henchmen serves as an unintentional reference point for why this animated film is mostly uninteresting. It suffers from a narrative disorientation that makes what is otherwise a technically laudible animation experience into something vapid. But in narrative filmmaking, the storytelling is an inextricable part of the technical whole. So this film works by trying to create the illusion of movement you might expect from a guide who’s attempting to cover up that there’s little sense of direction.
The film (another stop-motion 3D offering from Laika Studios, home of Coraline and ParaNorman) begins with a flashback in which the Victorian era townspeople of Cheesebridge comes to believe that underground creatures known as boxtrolls exist to kidnap and kill children. However, the minute we encounter Archibald Snatcher, a snarly pest exterminator who is charged with eliminating the boxtrolls, we’re left to question what we’ve been told about the cardboard creatures.
On the basis of the rumors concerning the boxtrolls, Snatcher has an agreement with Lord Portley-Rind that when all of them are killed, he will become a member of the highly exclusive cheese-loving town council known as the “White Hats.”
Cheesebridge is a leaning tower of cheeza that stinks of hypocritical elites enjoying excess at the top while everyone else wallows underneath them in a destitute foundation that cannot stand. At the top, the White Hats are only concerned with power and maintaining the pretense of deserving their position. ...1
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